Saturday, September 29, 2007

Gaming With Grandma - 34

Mum came over to our house this morning for her weekly visit. I had planned to play Der schwarze Pirat and Burg Appenzell with her and Maddie but unfortunately Maddie wasn't feeling well. Having the GIPF project on my mind for the last few days I suggested some games.

First up Mum and I played ZERTZ. In this game you lay out 37 rings in a hexagon pattern. The first player to capture 3 of each colour (white, grey and black) marbles, or 4 white, or 5 grey or 6 black marbles wins the game. You capture marbles by jumping one marble over another checkers-style. Each player on their turn may place a marble and then take away a ring. As the game progresses the board shrinks. If on your turn you are in a position where you can capture a marble then you must do so. However, this means you cannot place a marble and take away a ring. You can also capture marbles by isolating them from the main area of the rings.


The strategy is in placing a marble on your turn to force your opponent on their next turn into capturing it with a marble of the colour you want and thereby putting their marble into a position where you can capture it on your turn. Obviously this means sacrificing marbles to be captured by your opponent. The trick there is to ensure that you force them to capture marbles which don't help them too much. I went on to win but it was by the rare event of, after exhausting the marble pool, using one of my captured marbles to place in the final vacant ring thus effectively 'isolating' and capturing all the marbles on the remaining rings.

We next played YINSH, a favourite of mine. In this game both players place their 5 rings anywhere on the board on the line intersections. The goal is to get 5 of your coloured markers in a row, thus allowing you to remove one of your rings as a scoring point. Score three rings and you win the game.


On your turn you choose a ring to move by placing your colour marker in the ring. You then move your ring in a straight line along any of the lines leading from that intersection. You cannot move through another ring. You can jump over as many markers as you want as long as they are in a straight unbroken line and you finish with your ring on the first vacant point after the last marker. Every marker you jumped over is flipped to reveal the opposing colour. You may jump over your own and your opponent's markers. I really enjoy this game and went on to win 3 rings to 1.

"Daddy can I play?"

Our final game of the morning was DVONN. I love the board for this - it looks like a sandy beach. In fact DVONN would be a great game to take to the beach. Leave the board at home and make the imprints of the spaces on the sand with the rings. As the rings are Bakelite it doesn't matter if they get wet.


In the first phase of DVONN players alternately place their rings on the board. The three red DVONN pieces are also placed at this time - two by the white player and 1 by the black player. The aim of the game is to have the highest stack of pieces at the end. A player owns a stack if their colour is the uppermost colour of the stack. The red DVONN pieces are important because a piece or stack must be able to draw a connecting line to them. If any pieces or stacks are isolated from being connected to a red DVONN piece they are removed from the game.

You can only move a piece that is not surrounded on all sides by other pieces. A single piece can move 1 space. A stack can move in a straight line an amount of spaces equivalent to the number of pieces within the stack. It's a great game of move and counter-move that is visually appealing as well. Mum won the game with some great moves and ended up with a stack almost twice as high as mine.

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